Headline was so nearly written for Diamonds new boy Ben

Ben Diamond takes the congratulations after he put AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 up against Moneyfields on his debut. Picture by Alison Bagley
Ben Diamond takes the congratulations after he put AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2-1 up against Moneyfields on his debut. Picture by Alison Bagley

It was almost a perfect scenario for an AFC Rushden & Diamonds debutant and the headline writers.

When Ben Diamond, who had joined the club from Corby Town just a day before, headed home to put Andy Peaks’ side 2-1 up against unbeaten Evo-Stik South League East leaders Moneyfields at Hayden Road last Saturday, it looked like it was all coming together.

As it turned out, the table-toppers grabbed a last-gasp equaliser to preserve their unbeaten start and deny the new boy from being the hero of the hour.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive impact from Diamond, who started the season at ON Chenecks in the UCL before signing for the Steelmen.

He had been on the pitch for just six minutes as a second-half substitute before nodding home what looked like being the winner.

“I was feeling quite nervous when I came on so to get the goal settled me down,” Diamond said.

“I was just hoping we could hold out, the headline would have written itself!

“It usually takes me a few games to settle and calm down but I do think I offer something different up front.

“I think clubs often go for bigger lads but I am a bit different and I didn’t think I would get on after seeing how direct Moneyfields were in the first half.

“But, with how the second half went, I was really psyched up for coming on and it was nice to score the goal.”

Diamond, who missed Tuesday's 6-1 win over Wellingborough Town in the Hillier Cup due to being cup-tied, was showing plenty of signs of his potential at Corby before making the move across the county.

And he concedes the step up from UCL is a bigger one than it may seem.

“I enjoyed it at Corby but there was a lot of travelling involved and I was playing more on the right wing, which isn’t really my preferred position,” the frontman said.

“Diamonds is a club I have always looked at and, if I wasn’t playing higher, it’s a club I wanted to play for.

“It’s been a big step up from the UCL. I could probably get away with not trying as hard in that but when you come up and you see the way the guys are on the ball, it makes you realise you have to be at your best to stay with them.”